Get On The Fly

The biggest thing that stops people from trying relaxation techniques is: “Hey, I don’t have 30 minutes to meditate.”  So let’s break that down: the only way to relax is through meditation, most people assume. But that assumption is false.

On-the-fly relaxation techniques are numerous, and in most ways, more effective than one or two meditation sessions per day. These regular world techniques are totally portable, invisible to others, and simple to work in.

Deep Breathing – Four or five cycles of breathing in, down to the belly and out really takes the edge off.

Sensory Mindfulness – Tune gently away from your thoughts and feelings and listen to the sounds around you for a few seconds. Next touch any surface in front of you (e.g. a keyboard, your sleeve, a coffee mug, a pen) and just note the feeling on your finger tips. Repeat for 30 seconds or up to a few minutes. Hey, don’t tell anyone, but you have just preformed a meditation practice.

Calming Imagery – Bring to your mind’s eye your last vacation (if it was a good time), or a favorite pet, or anything else that strikes you as calming (you also can do this with your eyes open). Hold onto the image or make it more vivid for a minute or two. Feel the greater calm.

No cross-legged position required for any of these. No seclusion necessary. Invisible to everyone else but you know what really is going on. You are de-stressing, when you need it, within your regular life, all on the fly.

The Big 4 Stress Types

There are a few other sources of stress but here are the biggies:

Threat – “Am I going to lose my job.” “God, I think he wants a divorce.” “What am I going to do?”

Anything that pokes at something near and dear to us (consciously or unconsciously) and shows the possibility of losing that precious thing, is a threat. Threat is not just a gun in the ribs, it can be the loss of anything we value.

Thwart – “Get moving!” “I hate post office lines; look at that dope slowing everything down.”  “I told you a hundred times, do it this way!” “They will never listen to me so I’m just going to keep my mouth shut.”

We know what needs to be done and damn it! the world is not playing along. What idiots. I demand that things be done my way. What? You don’t always get your own way (in traffic, in lines, at work, in life)? Hello, stress.

Inner Conflict – “I know I need to get started on that project but…” “This just isn’t right but I have no choice but to do it anyway.” “Which way do I go, this way or that? They both feel the right way.”

Here we are split between two compelling options (or more). Both have their possibilities but we just can’t get off the dime and therefore we live with the stress of being inactive/divided.

Change – “I just: moved, lost my job, retired, won the lottery, got sick, ran off with a starlet, bought a house, had a baby, got a promotion.”

Shocking but true, good events and bad events stress us by causing our mind, body, and soul to swing into action to figure out what all this new stuff is and how to live with it. Win the lottery? Then you are stressed.  Break your leg and your nose? Then you are stressed. Can’t win when things change.

Homework: See if your top three stressors fit into these categories. Note: Some stressors are so good at stressing, you can have two, three, or four of the major types of stresses cooking away in your life at one time because of one problem. You get a promotion (change), you want the money that comes with the promotion but not the work (inner conflict), you are afraid that some of your co-workers will turn their competitive attention upon you (threat), and you feel that you can’t really make the changes you want and therefore will feel like a puppet (thwart).  Ouch!